FLIGHT OF THE SERPENT
By Val Davis
Bantam Books, December, 1998
Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
Archaeologist Nicolette Scott is winding up a dig at an historic mining town in the the Sonoran Desert when she witnesses the crash of a small plane in a nearby canyon. On reaching the wreckage she finds the young pilot dead. Although unable to pull his body from the wreckage, she sees his face clearly, just before the cans of gasoline in the back seat ignite and turn the Cessna into a fireball. Nobody, from the local law enforcers to the government, believes her when she says she saw the shadow of a helicopter above the plane just before it fell from the sky.
The pilot is identified as Matt Gault, a reporter and heir apparent to his family's aviation business. Nick (Nicollette) refuses to accept the crash as a simple error in judgment or tragic accident, but the government investigators will not take her seriously, in fact, they seem eager for her to drop the whole matter. Matt’s grieving grandfather makes contact with her and the two plunge into a maelstrom of danger and intrigue.
Nick is an aficionado of aviation, having spent countless hours as a child making models of old planes while her famous father was off on his exotic excavations. She is thrilled to find that John Gault is restoring the B-24 warplane in which he fought in WWII. He’d made a promise to Matt, and to the remaining members of his original flight crew, that she would fly again, and invites Nick to take the ride of a lifetime when the Lady-A takes to the sky once more. While the work goes on, Nick and John Gault attempt to find out what really happened to Matt, developing an unlikely but close relationship. They find that something is going on at a supposedly abandoned military base deep in the mountains, something top-secret and dangerous, and they are warned off in no uncertain terms. Neither will rest, though, until they uncover the truth, avenging the death of Matt and nameless, countless others who paid the price for a madman's scheme.
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